Iowa Starting Line is growing once again, and we’re announcing a new project and position today that we’re very excited about. We will be placing a full-time reporter in Waterloo for a six-month to year-long project, with an overarching goal to tell the story of one of the most diverse cities in Iowa and lift up the stories of the people there, their communities, the challenges they face, and the solutions local leaders are working on.
The start date for this project is flexible, but we encourage people to apply and send around the job description to people they know that might be interested.
Since Starting Line’s expansion in mid-2019, we have worked to expand our news coverage far beyond the typical Iowa politics beat that we focused on when this site was just one person. During the Iowa Caucus, we did considerable policy and community reporting on issues around labor, immigrant, climate change, housing, health care, the judiciary, democracy and rural subjects.
Some of our work we’ve been most proud of has come during this pandemic, as we focused in on telling the stories of essential workers, especially those at meatpacking plants.
Now we want to try out doing a long, deep dive on one Iowa community that has plenty of important stories to tell.
The Starting Line team enjoyed our time in Waterloo during last year’s Local America mayor’s forum in the city, hosted by Mayor Quentin Hart. The city has also seen significant attention from state and national news in the past months as they dealt with a massive COVID-19 outbreak at the local Tyson plant.
But what happens when the spotlight moves away? Among many things we hope to cover is the long-term impacts on a community from a major coronavirus outbreak, as well as what community and elected leaders are doing to help the impacted communities rebound.
In particular, we hope to give a full, comprehensive look at life in Waterloo. It’s very important to examine the challenging conditions that many Iowans face, but we want to do it in a way that also highlights the solutions and the people who are working for change.
We have not yet settled on the full scope or details of the reporting that this new position will do, but wanted to get the process rolling for finding good applicants. We’ll continue discussions with local leaders and activists in Waterloo during the hiring search to brainstorm ideas. And you can email Pat (Pat@IowaStartingLine.com) with any ideas of your own.